The Texas Road Runners !!!!!                

Road Trip Adventures, Roadside Attractions, Crazy DIY Projects, Texas Fishing, Rock Hounding and more......

Past Adventures

The Spring Road Trips of  2004

The sights include : The Texas Ranger Museum, Buzzard Billy's in Waco, The Texas Prison Museum, The Stanzel Model Airplane Museum, more Court House Pic.'s, The Shiner Brewery, The Cave Without a Name, Fort Martin Scott, the City of Llano and Wonder Cave!

What’s New ? (As always, click on the picture for for a larger image and click on the links for photos surprises.)

          I hope you enjoyed the Georgia Road Trips of  2004I can't wait to go back.  There really is so much more to explore.  Mark, Deborah, John and Jackie, you have been warned

        I did update the "About this Site" page.  Still no job but, I really don't miss some of those folks at work.  Basically, the IT and Telecom industry is dead and I am going back to college to work on a new career in the Health Services.  Hoping I will make it as a Pharmacist in the near future.  So the adventures will be quite less.  I may concentrate my efforts more on informational pages on the sites I have previously visited.

          However, it did not stop me from taking on a few little field trips this past Spring.  So, hang onto your arm chair again.  Its time to hit the road!

Star Date : 05/02/2004 : The Texas Ranger Museum.

         This little adventure started off with another rock and mineral show.  This time the show was held at the Waco Convention Center and Buddy Bill came along.  We had to be real careful on the road, the cops were out in full force.  They were writing tickets out to everyone!  Not much to say about the show, but I think it was better than last year's since they seemed to have moved it to a bigger hall. 

          After walking the tables several times, it was time for lunch.  I had to bring Bill to Buzzard Billy's, my favorite restaurant in Waco.  Every time I eat there, I always see this cop car there, but its always safe inside

          During lunch, we discussed checking out the Texas Ranger Museum since it was on the way home.  We found the museum up the road off of I-35 and pulled on in.  We found Major Erath guarding the facility and finally made it on in.  The first thing we did was watch a video of the history of the Texas Rangers.  Afterwards, we hit some of the galleries.  Of coarse the guns were always cool to look at in addition to the modern equipment they now use to solve crimes.  Luckily for me, they did have a gift shop were I purchased another refrigerator magnet to add to my collection.  I also got a new pair of dice.

          After the tour of the museum, it was time to head on home.  Hum, we actually made it back this time before nightfall. 

Star Date : 05/04/2004 :  Tuesday - The Texas Prison Museum.

          I had a Pharmacy Technology advisory meeting at Alvin Community College on this day.  So I decided to start out early, attend the meeting to see if this may be a possible stepping stone for my new career move in Pharmacy and then stay with my parents for the evening.  Then head on out the next day for the long way home and make a little adventure out of it.  My normal route from the Dallas area was the long drive on I-45 heading south.  However, I did something a little different this time. 

          Normally when passing through Huntsville, I'll stop to stretch my legs at the Pilot convenience store right off Exit 118.  However, this same exit this time took me to the Texas Prison Museum.  I finally found this place as this stretch of road led me towards Sam Houston State University and the downtown area.  I pulled into the parking lot and wonder how I had missed this place after so many drives down to the Houston area.  Then I noticed the real prison just across I-45 from where I stood.  This guy better pay his speeding ticket or he could just wind up here.

          After paying a very nominal entry fee and picking up another refrigerator magnet at the gift store, the first stop was viewing a video on the Texas prison system.  Inside,  they had a mock-up prison cell in addition to several galleries in which artifacts of what was once used in prison life.  Again, the guns were really cool plus the illegal weapons and other illegal paraphernalia the inmates were able to fabricate inside the the prison walls.  They also had a display of some of their more famous prisoners held with in the system.   They a Of coarse, who could leave without seeing Old Sparky, the chair that sent many an inmate to their final end. So I finished my tour and waved good-bye to the officer in the tower and continued on my way to Alvin the parental units and Alvin Community College.  I got

Star Date : 05/05/2004 : Wednesday - The long way home.

The Stanzel Model Airplane Museum -

          I woke up in the morning and just decided to play it by ear.  I thought I would take a nostalgic route to the San Antonio area via the old Hwy 90 and headed west.  My first stop was in Schulenburg to check out the Stanzel Model Airplane Museum.  I pulled into the museum and noticed that Santa had not yet returned to the North Pole.  Inside, I finally learned that two brothers, Victor and Joe Stanzel were the ones who originally manufactured and sold flying model airplane kits to the public.  Several of their models were on displayed along with the kits that were once sold.

The Shiner Brewery -

         After the quick tour of the museum, I continued west on Hwy 90 to stop in Hallettsville to take this photo of the Lavaca County courthouse.  After this stop to stretch my legs again, I continued further west on Hwy 90 and made it to Shiner, home of the Spoetzl Brewery.

          I parked and as I walked towards the brewery, I noticed that this site has the seal of approval from the Texas Historic Marker folks in in Austin.  I quickly found the hospitality room and once again, visitors are forced to sit and watch another video on the history and operations of the brewery.  Also inside, was this huge copper kettle once used to make their brew.  Unfortunately, I missed the last tour and the next on was an hour away.  I had no time to wait, so I hit the road again.   I was going to save my beer tokens for Christmas gifts but, I gave it to this guy

The Cave Without a Name -

          I finally made it back on the road again and made it to the San Antonio area.  I then took I-10 West towards Boerne.  It was getting late and I really wanted to make it to the Cave Without a Name.  This was a tough cave to find.  I had to first had to travel into the downtown area.  Boerne reminds me much of Fredericksburg, TX.  Again, be careful with the antique shopping there.  They are mighty proud of their goods.  But, once in town, I was able to take Hwy 474 northeast out of town and then took a right on Kreutzer Road  and followed the signs to the visitor center.  Once inside, I paid my reduced fee from their Internet coupon and waited for the next tour.  While inside, I noticed that they had the normal cave souvenirs for sale

          I had a quick bite to eat and them my tour began.  The cave was first found when this well was first dug.  We made it through the entrance and the first sight was this bat!  Once down below, the light from above came from the well hole above.  The picture links below are some of the sights and formations which can be seen :

Fossilized Bones from an Ancient Cat

Cave bacon

More Cave Bacon

A Hectite Chicken Foot

Cave Curtains

Flow Formation

Stalactites

More Stalactites

More Cave Columns

Cool Formations

A Fried Egg

An Ice Cream Cone

A Cave Pond

Soda Straws

White Grapes

          The only other further comment I will make about this cave is that the bacon formations are the biggest I have ever seen in any cave!  It was getting late, so I found my way back back to Boerne and continued west on I-10.  I then took Hwy 87 north to Fredericksburg and found a motel to plan for the next leg of my trip and crash for the night. 

Star Date : 05/06/2004 : Let's see if I finally make it home today!

 Fort Martin Scott -

         I started out early and decided to check out Fort Martin Scott, another old restored fort located just outside of town.  Although built by the U.S. army in 1848, it was only used for a brief 5 years.  Later, it was used by the Confederate army and then by the Texas Rangers.  Inside the visitors center was a small museum with a few artifacts.  The parade grounds were well kept and apparently on this day there was a group reliving history.  Either these buildings were maintained very well, or they did a good job in reconstruction. 

The City of Llano -

          After visiting the fort, I made my way back into town and took Hwy 16 north to Llano, TX.  This part of  Hwy 16 is highly scenic and I recommend it.  One further note, about half way to Llano is the turn-off to Enchanted Rock!  But, I was in no mood to climb it again after conquering Stone Mountain in Georgia.  

          So, I continued north to the city of Llano, TX!  Although I have been through llano a number of times, I mainly just passed through it to reach Mason of the Llanite outcrop to the north of town.  This time I stayed a little longer. I found a place to park and also noticed that llano is the county seat of Llano county.  But this time, I was really after a photo op. of the bridge and dam in the city park that spans across the Llano river in which I have seen in many magazines.  As I walked down to the river, I noticed is was comprised of mainly the red granite found in the area and with a little of the sand that came from the granite. 

          Finally after obtaining the classic photo shots, I rested a while and then it was time to finally head for home and hopefully make it in before dark, for once.  My last leg of the route was east on Hwy 29 to Burnet, north on Hwy 281 to Evant, east on Hwy 84 to Waco and finally, north on I-35 back to the old hacienda!  But the adventures don't end just yet.

 Star Date : 05/09/2004 : Sunday - Wonder Cave!

         I had the last two days to rest up but, I still had that urge to get back on the road again.  I woke up very early in the morning and after church, I decided to try to hit Wonder Cave!    I saw this cave as a kid on one of those family vacations but, I remember very little of it.  So let's check it out....

       The drive down to San Marcos was only about two and a half hours and I turned off on the highly visible Wonder World Drive and headed west.  I then simply followed the signs to the visitor center.  Once inside, I paid my fee to tour the cave and checked out the gift store.  Of coarse I picked up another refrigerator magnet and a neat little lighter.  They also had a nice snack bar inside.  The burgers are great

          The tour finally started and our tour guide led us the way to the entrance and began our decent.  As we continued down, we finally made it to the first room.  Where we were then given a short history of the cave.  apparently, this is another cave discovered by drilling a water well.  It was in the first room of the cave in which gambling and an illegal still operated until it was shut down by the local judge who then in turn tried to operate it as a show cave.   

          We continued on down through the main corridor and a look above showed us the Balcones fault line.  To the right of the line was the South Texas Plains and to the left of the line starts the Texas Hill Country!  As we continued along the fault line, black nodules of flint were seen embedded into the wall.  As we continued, we entered another room in which graffiti and fossilized burrows of ancient sea worms were seen.  We finally came to the original water well which is still being used by the government to measure the capacity of the Edwards Aquifer.  The last room finally led to an elevator which took us all the way to the top of the observation tower

           I took in the view overlooking I-35 and that of below.  The tour from top of the tower then led us to the Anti-Gravity House.  These places are always a hoot to run around in and of coarse they had the traditional water running uphill trick

          The exit out of the Anti-Gravity House led to a display of exotic birds and back to the front where trains were waiting to take you away to Magic Mountain and the Wildlife Petting Zoo for the kids.  I love trains!  The park did offer a nice picnic area for visitors and next to the picnic area was the ventilation shaft for the cave. 

          Well, I wanted to get home before dark again, so I headed out slightly disappointed.  I guess as a kid, it was a cool cave to see, but now that I'm much older, it was quite disappointing to see due to the fact that this is a dead cave with virtually no formations. 

          Thus, this concludes the last of my road trips for the Spring of 2004.  I have already been bouncing back and forth from the Dallas area to the Houston area due to my classes that I am already taking and my move back to Lake Jackson.  During my trips down, I noticed some bats living under the overpasses of I-45 between Corsicana and Fairfield.  I think I'll try to do a story on them.  But first, I need some new hiking boots

       So, until next time, take care and I'll  See you... on the road, or in the workshop, (which is really just my garage) !!!!

                                                     Francis                        

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